Brother Imari saw the South as the territorial anchor and homeland of the African-American oppressed nation, and saw self-determination in the U.S. South as a liberation zone for the wider struggle against African-American national oppression and against U.S. imperialism in the interest of the liberation of all working-class and oppressed peoples.
The RNA recognized ALL African Americans as citizens, unless they declared noncitizenship. This included Black organizations. Part of the political framework for the demand for political prisoner and prisoner-of-war status for combatants in various units of the Black Liberation Army, was developed out of the RNA under the leadership of Brother Imari.
Brother Imari took his role as president of the PG very seriously. His constant push for reparations, including helping to found the National Coalition on Black Reparations in America, grew out of his understanding of reparations being an important part of the fight for African-American self-determination. He did not see reparations as a check to individuals to use to feed the capitalist market, but as resources to build the institutions, campaigns and the mass and advance political organizations of the African-American oppressed nation’s national liberation movement.
Brother Imari was a tireless soldier. He had a good balance of fire and humility within his personality. He was a strategist and an on-the-ground leader. He led the RNA into the South, and many of its most faithful citizens and leaders followed and remained there.
Mr. Obadele (pronounced oh-ba-DEL-ee) was president of the Republic of New Afrika, a country that existed as an idea. His provocative proposal was to have Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina — the heart of the old Confederacy — removed from the union and given over to black Americans.
The demand drew the national news media’s attention. The New York Times called it “bizarre.”
The proposal emerged in 1968, the year the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
Obadele, who opposed integration into white society, demanded U.S. land as payback for the centuries of abuse blacks had suffered. He also asked for billions of dollars and became a leader of the reparations movement.
His organization saw itself as fighting a war of national liberation. It had a uniformed militia and engaged in gun battles with the police in Detroit and Jackson, Miss.; a police officer died in each.
In the Jackson face-off in 1971, murder charges against Obadele were eventually dropped, although eight members of his group were convicted. A year later, Obadele was convicted of conspiring to assault an FBI officer and served more than five years of a 12-year sentence.